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Senate probes alleged plot to remove Saraki; CCT adjourns trial indefinitely

By News Express on 08/03/2018

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•Senate President Bukola Saraki
•Senate President Bukola Saraki

The Senate has begun an investigation into the alleged plot by some members to sack the President, Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and other leaders of the chamber.

Raising the alarm through a point of order at the plenary on Wednesday, Senator Obinna Ogba (PDP, Ebonyi-Central) alleged that the group of aggrieved senators was also mobilising civil society and trade groups to protest against Saraki’s leadership.

Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, referred the matter to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.

In another development, the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has indefinitely adjourned the trial of Saraki.

Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar, announced this in a bench ruling on Thursday in Abuja.

Senator Saraki is being tried on three of the 18 counts of false declaration of assets filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Umar gave the bench ruling at the resumed trial, following the address of the Tribunal by the defence and prosecuting counsels.

He held that it was germane to await the decision of the Supreme Court on the appeals filed by both the Senate President and the Federal Government on the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

In his address, the prosecuting counsel Mr Rotimi Jacobs urged the Tribunal to proceed with taking the final address from the parties in the suit.

He based his request on the fact that the defence had already opened and closed their case and the Tribunal had adjourned for the adoption of final addresses.

However, Counsel to the Senate President Mr Kanu Agabi urged the Tribunal to be mindful of the dignity of the Supreme Court and prayed for an indefinite adjournment.

Agreeing with the defence counsel, the CCT chairman held that the Tribunal “has decided to tarry a while so that the integrity of Supreme Court would not be played with.”

“The Tribunal will adjourn this matter sine die pending the outcome of the appeals at the Supreme Court,” he added.

On Tuesday last week, the Tribunal had adjourned the case till March 8 to hear the final address by the parties in the suit and for its final judgment.

The parties will have to await the decisions of the Supreme Court to proceed with the rest of the trial.

Of the 18 counts levelled against Saraki by the EFCC, a three-man panel of the Appeal Court led by Justice Tinuade Wilson-Akomolafe had on December 12, 2017, nullified 15 counts.

The panel had, however, ordered him to defend himself on counts 4, 5 and 6, which had to do with how he acquired some of his properties in Ikoyi, Lagos.

The court held that while the Senate President declared in his asset form that the properties were acquired through the sales of commodities, the testimony of one of the prosecution witness, who is a banker to the lawmaker, indicated that the properties were bought through a loan.

In its bench ruling, the Tribunal consequently adjourned Saraki’s trial sine dine, pending the decisions of the apex court on the matter.

•Based on Channels TV reports.

 

 

 

Source News Express

Posted 08/03/2018 7:33:43 PM

 

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